Podcast 46: Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

The 3 Guys Podcast

Recorded on 1/20/2022

Are you team Del or Neal?  In this episode we review John Hughes comedy movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles (released 1987) starring Steve Martin and John Candy.  WARNING: There will be SPOILERS!

The 3 Guys Rating

3.8/5

Interested in checking out the movie on Blu-Ray? Click on the link below.

Notes From The Show

  • Quick Synopsis

  • Released: November 25, 1987

    Directed, Written and Produced By: John Hughes

    Stars:   Steve Martin and John Candy

    Plot:  A Chicago advertising man must struggle to travel home from New York for Thanksgiving, with a lovable oaf of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.

    How did this movie do
    Budget: $15 Million
    Box office: $50 Million

  • John Hughes Directed Movies

    • 1984 Sixteen Candles
    • 1984 The Breakfast Club
    • 1985 Weird Science
    • 1986 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
    • 1987 Planes, Trains and Automobiles
    • 1988 She’s Having a Baby
    • 1989 Uncle Buck
    • 1991 Curly Sue
  • Casting

    • John Hughes originally wanted Tom Hanks for the role of Neal Page and John Travolta for the role of Del Griffith. Hanks was unavailable since he was busy shooting Big (1988). Paramount executives did not want Travolta in the movie because he was considered “box office poison” at the time.

    • Rick Moranis was considered for the role of Neal.

    • John Goodman was considered for Del Griffith.

    • Steve Martin was convinced to join the production after favoring two scenes he had read from the script: the seat adjustment-scene in the car, and the F-word tirade at the car rental desk.

    • Whilst shooting a scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Edie McClurg was approached by John Hughes who gave her a page of script featuring the car rental scene. He asked her to read both parts out loud for him, which she did and he took it back, saying nothing. A few months later she received a call from Hughes offering her the part of the desk clerk.
  • Trivia

    • Besides writing, directing and producing this movie, John Hughes was also a lyricist for “I Can Take Anything” song.

    • The exterior of their aircraft in flight is a re-use of the 707 flying through the storm from the movie Airplane! (1980), also released by Paramount Pictures.

    • John Candy and Steve Martin’s favorite film of their own.

    • John Hughes, in an interview on the “Those Aren’t Pillows” DVD, said he was inspired to write the film’s story after an actual flight he was on from New York to Chicago. The flight was diverted to Wichita, Kansas, taking him five days to get home.

    • On instruction from John Hughes, Edie McClurg’s role as the St. Louis rental car agent was partially improvised. Hughes told her to simply riff a fake phone conversation with someone about Thanksgiving plans while Steve Martin remains waiting in line staring at her to finish up. McClurg came up with the idea to speak with her sister about who was going to make what adding “You know I can’t cook!”. Hughes asked her how she came up with those lines so quickly and she replied that, like his scripts, she just drew it from her own life. McClurg claims to this day that random people ask her to tell them they’re fucked.

    • The Marathon Car Rental scene is exactly one minute long from the time Steve Martin starts his tirade to the time the attendant ends the scene. In that sixty seconds, the “F” word is used nineteen times. The film would’ve easily been rated PG or PG-13 by the MPAA if it weren’t for this one scene.

    • In the airport scene in Wichita, when the airline employee announces that the flight has been cancelled, you can see on the board behind him that the destination of the flight is “nowhere”.

    • John Hughes wrote the first draft of the screenplay in three days. His average writing time for a screenplay in those days was about three to five days with twenty-some re-writes.

    • Steve Martin talked in an interview about his late co-star John Candy and his similarities with the character of Del: “Well, he was a very sweet guy. *Very* sweet… and complicated, and so, he was always friendly, always outgoing and you know, funny and nice and polite, but I could tell he had kind of a little broken heart inside him.”

    • The movie ends with a freeze frame of John Candy with a tight lipped grin. Uncle Buck (1989) ends exactly the same way, a freeze frame of John Candy with the same expression.

    • According to Editor Paul Hirsch, the original cut of this movie was three hours and forty minutes long. He and John Hughes edited it down to two hours. This version was test screened, and it was probably used to edit trailers for the film, which is why they show a lot of deleted scenes. The movie was then edited again down to one hour and thirty-three minutes for theatrical release. According to Hirsch, a two hour version still exists, but he doesn’t know where it is.

    • Director John Hughes was known for staging improvisational moments for his actors in order to capture a genuine reaction. Since he was not satisfied with the Owen scene introductions after several takes, he privately instructed Dylan Baker (Owen) to wipe spit in his right hand hand just before shaking hands with Neil Page. Steve Martin was not expecting this, thus his disgusted reaction to shaking Baker’s saliva slathered hand. The film crew reportedly exploded in laughter as Martin ran off to wash his hands immediately following the encounter. Hughes got the reaction he needed and the footage was kept in the film.

    • After Del “steals” Neal’s cab at the beginning of the movie, Neal looks down and sees that the cab is gone. In the puddle on the ground, there are two shower curtain rings.

    • While riding the bus, John Candy sings the theme song to The Flintstones (1960), which was his all-time favorite cartoon.

    • John Hughes shot over 600,000 feet (180,000 meters) of film, almost twice the industry average. The rumored three-hour version of the film does indeed exist, although not in order. It’s allegedly a mess of footage that would take “months, maybe even years” according to Hughes to transform into an actual film. It is locked away in a Paramount vault, and according to Hughes, most of it has probably deteriorated by now.

    • In a scene that is not in the theatrical version, (but it airs on the televised version) Del (John Candy) and Neal (Steve Martin) eat dinner on a plane. The scene ends with a long-haired passenger in front of Neal and his or her hair cascades down onto his brownie, completely covering it. Seeing that Neal is no longer hungry, Del fishes through the hair to retrieve and eat it.

    • The exterior of the rental car was designed to resemble that of the Griswolds’ station wagon, from John Hughes’ previous production, National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983).

    • Elton John and lyricist Gary Osborne were commissioned to compose the theme song for the film. They had nearly completed writing it when, just two days before they were to record it, Paramount Pictures issued a last minute demand that the original song master become property of the studio. Elton’s record company, Polygram, would not allow this as he was under contractual obligation to give Polygram rights to all his released music. Paramount and Polygram could not reach a deal in the impasse and both composers withdrew from the project. Paramount instead opted to license Paul Young’s “Everytime You Go Away” as the movie’s theme song. Elton John’s original theme song was never recorded.

    • In the 3-hour cut of the film, the Braidwood Inn sequence was much longer. Scenes included:

      • Del ordering pizza and a six-pack of beer, using money he takes out of Neal’s wallet (this incident is mentioned in dialogue in the final film). He only gives the delivery boy a $1 tip. The delivery boy hangs around the motel lobby, then returns to break into their room to rob them (the break-in remains in the final cut, but without the context of who it is, making it seem like he is a random burglar). Neal reluctantly eats pizza even though he had asked for a salad, which the pizza place didn’t have, according to Del.

      • After Del sells some shower curtain rings at the bus station, Del and Neal go for a meal at a diner. In the shot where both Del and Neal can be seen sitting at their booth, there is a waitress and a female customer in the background. Both the waitress and customer are wearing the shower curtain rings as earrings.

    • John Candy uses the same line in two movies: “I know it’s not pretty to look at, but it’ll get you where you wanna go.” He says that about the car to the police officer. He also says it in Cool Runnings (1993) when revealing the team’s bobsled for the first time.

    • With the cold weather, it was expected to snow, since it was conducive to the story. After the production waited several weeks in Illinois for it to snow, it was moved to Buffalo, New York.

    • The rural train station, where Neal and Del buy the tickets for their ill-fated train ride, is the same station seen in The Natural (1984). It’s located in South Dayton, New York.

    • The second movie where John Candy plays a passenger who gets on the nerves of another passenger sitting next to him. He did so before in Volunteers (1985). In fact in both movies, he is sitting in a window seat on the right side of the aircraft, and his victim was to his left in the aisle seat. In this film on the Greyhound bus, he led the other passengers into song, The Flintstones (1960) to be exact. In “Volunteers” he led everyone into song (Puff the Magic Dragon – 1978 ) on board an airplane.

    • Bill Erwin, who plays the old man sleeping on Steve Martin’s shoulder during the plane scene, also appeared in Home Alone (1990) and She’s Having a Baby (1988), both also John Hughes films.

    • When Del Griffith (John Candy) clears his sinuses in the motel room, his nose is whistling sounds out the final chords to “Shave and a Haircut”.

    • In the famous “those aren’t pillows!!” scene, after jumping out of bed in horror, Neal asks Del “did you see that Bears game last week?” to which Del replies “hell of a game, hell of a game…Bears got a great team this year…gonna go all the way.” In 1987, Thanksgiving fell on November 26th, meaning the previous Bears game would have been Sunday, November 22nd. In that game, the Bears did indeed post an impressive 30-10 win over division rival Detroit. At the assumed point that scene happened, the Bears were 8-2, and en route to an 11-4 season (a week 3 game against Detroit was cancelled, due to a player’s strike). Unfortunately, they didn’t go “all the way”, as they would lose 21-17 in the Divisional Round to the Washington Redskins.

    • Del tells Neal “You know you could’ve killed me, slugging me in the gut when I wasn’t ready. That’s how Houdini died you know?” Harry Houdini had said he could withstand hard punches to the stomach. An incident with a student at McGill University, where he punched Houdini repeatedly in the stomach, was thought to have killed Houdini, but it was actually peritonitis from a ruptured appendix.

    • The El Rancho Hotel is located on U.S. Highway 41 in Gurnee, Illinois, however, it now operates under a different name.

    • On Del’s trunk it shows his name as Del O. Griffith, meaning that Del’s initials spell out the word ‘DOG’. Five months before the release of this film, John Candy appeared in Spaceballs (1987), playing a character named Barf who was half man and half dog.

    • Cameo: Kevin Bacon as the man Neal Page (Steve Martin) races for the taxi cab at the start of the movie.

    • No transportation company wanted to appear inept or deficient in any way, so crews had to rent twenty miles of train track and refurbish old railroad cars, construct a set that looked like an airline terminal, design a rent-a-car company logo and uniforms, and rent 250 cars for the infamous Rent-a-Car sequence.

    • The film’s plot went through several revisions during production, including the ending. As originally conceived, Del actually boards the Chicago commuter train with Neal and follows him all the way home. During the editing process, John Hughes decided to change the ending so that Del would “take the hint” and allow Neal to return home alone. In order to get the new ending, Hughes and Editor Paul Hirsch located footage of Steve Martin on the Chicago train from a previously deleted scene. All of this footage was shot without Martin ever knowing the camera was on. His laughter and facial expressions perfectly matched what Hughes was looking for in the flashback scenes with Del. However, in the raw footage, Martin is only daydreaming or thinking about his lines in the next scene. Hughes remarked that Martin had a “beautiful expression” in those unguarded moments.

    • When sitting in the refrigerator truck towards the end of the film Del has a black eye, this is a reference to a deleted scene where, after Del and Neal are arrested by the state trooper and they leave the jailhouse, Del mentions not having bought insurance for the rental car they destroyed. As a result, Neal punches him in the face.

    • Had Neal and Del just stayed at the airport, they probably would’ve made it back to Chicago just in time. A scene played shortly after shows Neal’s wife watching the news which said that O’Hare is clearing up.

Released: November 25, 1987

Directed, Written and Produced By: John Hughes

Stars:   Steve Martin and John Candy

Plot:  A Chicago advertising man must struggle to travel home from New York for Thanksgiving, with a lovable oaf of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.

How did this movie do
Budget: $15 Million
Box office: $50 Million

  • 1984 Sixteen Candles
  • 1984 The Breakfast Club
  • 1985 Weird Science
  • 1986 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • 1987 Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • 1988 She’s Having a Baby
  • 1989 Uncle Buck
  • 1991 Curly Sue
  • John Hughes originally wanted Tom Hanks for the role of Neal Page and John Travolta for the role of Del Griffith. Hanks was unavailable since he was busy shooting Big (1988). Paramount executives did not want Travolta in the movie because he was considered “box office poison” at the time.

  • Rick Moranis was considered for the role of Neal.

  • John Goodman was considered for Del Griffith.

  • Steve Martin was convinced to join the production after favoring two scenes he had read from the script: the seat adjustment-scene in the car, and the F-word tirade at the car rental desk.

  • Whilst shooting a scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Edie McClurg was approached by John Hughes who gave her a page of script featuring the car rental scene. He asked her to read both parts out loud for him, which she did and he took it back, saying nothing. A few months later she received a call from Hughes offering her the part of the desk clerk.
  • Besides writing, directing and producing this movie, John Hughes was also a lyricist for “I Can Take Anything” song.

  • The exterior of their aircraft in flight is a re-use of the 707 flying through the storm from the movie Airplane! (1980), also released by Paramount Pictures.

  • John Candy and Steve Martin’s favorite film of their own.

  • John Hughes, in an interview on the “Those Aren’t Pillows” DVD, said he was inspired to write the film’s story after an actual flight he was on from New York to Chicago. The flight was diverted to Wichita, Kansas, taking him five days to get home.

  • On instruction from John Hughes, Edie McClurg’s role as the St. Louis rental car agent was partially improvised. Hughes told her to simply riff a fake phone conversation with someone about Thanksgiving plans while Steve Martin remains waiting in line staring at her to finish up. McClurg came up with the idea to speak with her sister about who was going to make what adding “You know I can’t cook!”. Hughes asked her how she came up with those lines so quickly and she replied that, like his scripts, she just drew it from her own life. McClurg claims to this day that random people ask her to tell them they’re fucked.

  • The Marathon Car Rental scene is exactly one minute long from the time Steve Martin starts his tirade to the time the attendant ends the scene. In that sixty seconds, the “F” word is used nineteen times. The film would’ve easily been rated PG or PG-13 by the MPAA if it weren’t for this one scene.

  • In the airport scene in Wichita, when the airline employee announces that the flight has been cancelled, you can see on the board behind him that the destination of the flight is “nowhere”.

  • John Hughes wrote the first draft of the screenplay in three days. His average writing time for a screenplay in those days was about three to five days with twenty-some re-writes.

  • Steve Martin talked in an interview about his late co-star John Candy and his similarities with the character of Del: “Well, he was a very sweet guy. *Very* sweet… and complicated, and so, he was always friendly, always outgoing and you know, funny and nice and polite, but I could tell he had kind of a little broken heart inside him.”

  • The movie ends with a freeze frame of John Candy with a tight lipped grin. Uncle Buck (1989) ends exactly the same way, a freeze frame of John Candy with the same expression.

  • According to Editor Paul Hirsch, the original cut of this movie was three hours and forty minutes long. He and John Hughes edited it down to two hours. This version was test screened, and it was probably used to edit trailers for the film, which is why they show a lot of deleted scenes. The movie was then edited again down to one hour and thirty-three minutes for theatrical release. According to Hirsch, a two hour version still exists, but he doesn’t know where it is.

  • Director John Hughes was known for staging improvisational moments for his actors in order to capture a genuine reaction. Since he was not satisfied with the Owen scene introductions after several takes, he privately instructed Dylan Baker (Owen) to wipe spit in his right hand hand just before shaking hands with Neil Page. Steve Martin was not expecting this, thus his disgusted reaction to shaking Baker’s saliva slathered hand. The film crew reportedly exploded in laughter as Martin ran off to wash his hands immediately following the encounter. Hughes got the reaction he needed and the footage was kept in the film.

  • After Del “steals” Neal’s cab at the beginning of the movie, Neal looks down and sees that the cab is gone. In the puddle on the ground, there are two shower curtain rings.

  • While riding the bus, John Candy sings the theme song to The Flintstones (1960), which was his all-time favorite cartoon.

  • John Hughes shot over 600,000 feet (180,000 meters) of film, almost twice the industry average. The rumored three-hour version of the film does indeed exist, although not in order. It’s allegedly a mess of footage that would take “months, maybe even years” according to Hughes to transform into an actual film. It is locked away in a Paramount vault, and according to Hughes, most of it has probably deteriorated by now.

  • In a scene that is not in the theatrical version, (but it airs on the televised version) Del (John Candy) and Neal (Steve Martin) eat dinner on a plane. The scene ends with a long-haired passenger in front of Neal and his or her hair cascades down onto his brownie, completely covering it. Seeing that Neal is no longer hungry, Del fishes through the hair to retrieve and eat it.

  • The exterior of the rental car was designed to resemble that of the Griswolds’ station wagon, from John Hughes’ previous production, National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983).

  • Elton John and lyricist Gary Osborne were commissioned to compose the theme song for the film. They had nearly completed writing it when, just two days before they were to record it, Paramount Pictures issued a last minute demand that the original song master become property of the studio. Elton’s record company, Polygram, would not allow this as he was under contractual obligation to give Polygram rights to all his released music. Paramount and Polygram could not reach a deal in the impasse and both composers withdrew from the project. Paramount instead opted to license Paul Young’s “Everytime You Go Away” as the movie’s theme song. Elton John’s original theme song was never recorded.

  • In the 3-hour cut of the film, the Braidwood Inn sequence was much longer. Scenes included:

    • Del ordering pizza and a six-pack of beer, using money he takes out of Neal’s wallet (this incident is mentioned in dialogue in the final film). He only gives the delivery boy a $1 tip. The delivery boy hangs around the motel lobby, then returns to break into their room to rob them (the break-in remains in the final cut, but without the context of who it is, making it seem like he is a random burglar). Neal reluctantly eats pizza even though he had asked for a salad, which the pizza place didn’t have, according to Del.

    • After Del sells some shower curtain rings at the bus station, Del and Neal go for a meal at a diner. In the shot where both Del and Neal can be seen sitting at their booth, there is a waitress and a female customer in the background. Both the waitress and customer are wearing the shower curtain rings as earrings.

  • John Candy uses the same line in two movies: “I know it’s not pretty to look at, but it’ll get you where you wanna go.” He says that about the car to the police officer. He also says it in Cool Runnings (1993) when revealing the team’s bobsled for the first time.

  • With the cold weather, it was expected to snow, since it was conducive to the story. After the production waited several weeks in Illinois for it to snow, it was moved to Buffalo, New York.

  • The rural train station, where Neal and Del buy the tickets for their ill-fated train ride, is the same station seen in The Natural (1984). It’s located in South Dayton, New York.

  • The second movie where John Candy plays a passenger who gets on the nerves of another passenger sitting next to him. He did so before in Volunteers (1985). In fact in both movies, he is sitting in a window seat on the right side of the aircraft, and his victim was to his left in the aisle seat. In this film on the Greyhound bus, he led the other passengers into song, The Flintstones (1960) to be exact. In “Volunteers” he led everyone into song (Puff the Magic Dragon – 1978 ) on board an airplane.

  • Bill Erwin, who plays the old man sleeping on Steve Martin’s shoulder during the plane scene, also appeared in Home Alone (1990) and She’s Having a Baby (1988), both also John Hughes films.

  • When Del Griffith (John Candy) clears his sinuses in the motel room, his nose is whistling sounds out the final chords to “Shave and a Haircut”.

  • In the famous “those aren’t pillows!!” scene, after jumping out of bed in horror, Neal asks Del “did you see that Bears game last week?” to which Del replies “hell of a game, hell of a game…Bears got a great team this year…gonna go all the way.” In 1987, Thanksgiving fell on November 26th, meaning the previous Bears game would have been Sunday, November 22nd. In that game, the Bears did indeed post an impressive 30-10 win over division rival Detroit. At the assumed point that scene happened, the Bears were 8-2, and en route to an 11-4 season (a week 3 game against Detroit was cancelled, due to a player’s strike). Unfortunately, they didn’t go “all the way”, as they would lose 21-17 in the Divisional Round to the Washington Redskins.

  • Del tells Neal “You know you could’ve killed me, slugging me in the gut when I wasn’t ready. That’s how Houdini died you know?” Harry Houdini had said he could withstand hard punches to the stomach. An incident with a student at McGill University, where he punched Houdini repeatedly in the stomach, was thought to have killed Houdini, but it was actually peritonitis from a ruptured appendix.

  • The El Rancho Hotel is located on U.S. Highway 41 in Gurnee, Illinois, however, it now operates under a different name.

  • On Del’s trunk it shows his name as Del O. Griffith, meaning that Del’s initials spell out the word ‘DOG’. Five months before the release of this film, John Candy appeared in Spaceballs (1987), playing a character named Barf who was half man and half dog.

  • Cameo: Kevin Bacon as the man Neal Page (Steve Martin) races for the taxi cab at the start of the movie.

  • No transportation company wanted to appear inept or deficient in any way, so crews had to rent twenty miles of train track and refurbish old railroad cars, construct a set that looked like an airline terminal, design a rent-a-car company logo and uniforms, and rent 250 cars for the infamous Rent-a-Car sequence.

  • The film’s plot went through several revisions during production, including the ending. As originally conceived, Del actually boards the Chicago commuter train with Neal and follows him all the way home. During the editing process, John Hughes decided to change the ending so that Del would “take the hint” and allow Neal to return home alone. In order to get the new ending, Hughes and Editor Paul Hirsch located footage of Steve Martin on the Chicago train from a previously deleted scene. All of this footage was shot without Martin ever knowing the camera was on. His laughter and facial expressions perfectly matched what Hughes was looking for in the flashback scenes with Del. However, in the raw footage, Martin is only daydreaming or thinking about his lines in the next scene. Hughes remarked that Martin had a “beautiful expression” in those unguarded moments.

  • When sitting in the refrigerator truck towards the end of the film Del has a black eye, this is a reference to a deleted scene where, after Del and Neal are arrested by the state trooper and they leave the jailhouse, Del mentions not having bought insurance for the rental car they destroyed. As a result, Neal punches him in the face.

  • Had Neal and Del just stayed at the airport, they probably would’ve made it back to Chicago just in time. A scene played shortly after shows Neal’s wife watching the news which said that O’Hare is clearing up.

About The Movie From IMDB

Planes, Trains & Automobiles Comedy, Drama | November 25, 1987 (United States) 7.6
Director: John HughesWriter: John HughesStars: Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila RobinsSummary: All that Neal Page wants to do is to get home for Thanksgiving. His flight has been cancelled due to bad weather, so he decides on other means of transport. As well as bad luck, Neal is blessed with the presence of Del Griffith, shower curtain ring salesman and all-around blabbermouth who is never short of advice, conversation, bad jokes, or company. And when he decides that he is going the same direction as Neal.... —Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Photos


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Videos


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Cast

...
Neal Page
...
Del Griffith
...
Susan Page
...
State Trooper
...
Taxi Racer
...
Owen
...
Joy
...
Marti
...
Peg
...
Second Motel Clerk
...
Doobie
...
Walt
...
Waitress
...
Little Neal
...
Car Rental Agent
...
Martin
...
Motel Thief
...
Gus

See full cast >>

Countries: United StatesLanguages: EnglishBudget: $30,000,000 (estimated)
Planes, Trains & Automobiles Comedy, Drama | November 25, 1987 (United States) Summary: A Chicago advertising man must struggle to travel home from New York for Thanksgiving, with a lovable oaf of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.
Countries: United StatesLanguages: English

Quotes

Car Rental Agent: [cheerfully] Welcome to Marathon, may I help you?

Neal: Yes.

Car Rental Agent: How may I help you?

Neal: You can start by wiping that fucking dumb-ass smile off your rosy fucking cheeks! Then you can give me a fucking automobile! A fucking Datsun, a fucking Toyota, a fucking Mustang, a fucking Buick! Four fucking wheels and a seat!

Car Rental Agent: I really don't care for the way you're speaking to me.

Neal: And I really don't care for the way your company left me in the middle of fucking nowhere with fucking keys to a fucking car that isn't fucking there. And I really didn't care to fucking walk down a fucking highway and across a fucking runway to get back here to have you smile in my fucking face. I want a fucking car... right... fucking... now.

[pause]

Car Rental Agent: May I see your rental agreement?

Neal: I threw it away.

Car Rental Agent: Oh, boy.

Neal: Oh, boy, what?

Car Rental Agent: [narrows her eyes] You're fucked.


Del: You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah, you're right, I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you... but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. Well, you think what you want about me; I'm not changing. I like... I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get.


Neal: You're no saint. You got a free cab, you got a free room, and someone who'll listen to your boring stories. I mean, didn't you notice on the plane when you started talking, eventually I started reading the vomit bag? Didn't that give you some sort of clue, like, hey, maybe this guy's not enjoying it? You know, everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You're a miracle! Your stories have none of that. They're not even amusing *accidentally*! "Honey, I'd like you to meet Del Griffith, he's got some amusing anecodotes for you. Oh, and here's a gun so you can blow your brains out. You'll thank me for it." I could tolerate any insurance seminar. For days, I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They'd say, "How can you stand it?" I'd say, "'Cause I've been with Del Griffith. I can take anything." You know what they'd say? They'd say, "I know what you mean. The shower curtain ring guy. Whoa." It's like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest, you know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except I wouldn't pull it out and snap it back, you would. Agh! Agh! Agh! Agh! And by the way, you know, when you're telling these little stories? Here's a good idea: have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!


[waking up after sharing the same bed on the motel]

Neal: Del... Why did you kiss my ear?

Del: Why are you holding my hand?

Neal: [frowns] Where's your other hand?

Del: Between two pillows...

Neal: Those aren't pillows!

[they both leap out of bed, screaming and shaking their hands in disgust]


Del: You play with your balls a lot.

Neal: I do NOT play with my balls.

Del: Larry Bird doesn't do as much ball-handling in one night as you do in an hour!

Neal: Are you trying to start a fight?

Del: No. I'm simply stating a fact. That's all. You fidget with your nuts a lot.

Neal: You know what'd make me happy?

Del: Another couple of balls, and an extra set of fingers?


Del: [speaking to self while sitting in the car while it snows] Well Marie, once again my dear, you were as right as rain. I am, with out a doubt, the biggest pain in the butt that ever came down the pike. I meet someone whose company I really enjoy, and what do I do? I go overboard. I smother the poor soul. I cause him more trouble than he has a right to. God, I got a big mouth. When am I ever gonna wake up? I wish you were here with me right now. But... I guess that's not gonna happen. Not now, anyway.


[another driver is trying to alert them that they're driving on the wrong side of the highway]

Neal: He says we're going the wrong way...

Del: Oh, he's drunk. How would he know where we're going?


Neal: [Comes back to Chicago rail station to find Del sitting alone] Del, what are you doing here? You said you were going home, what are you doing here?

Del: I uh... I don't have a home. Marie's been dead for eight years.


Cab Dispatcher: Where are you going?

Neal: Chicago.

Cab Dispatcher: Chicago?

Neal: Yeah, Chicago.

Cab Dispatcher: You know you're in St. Louis?

Neal: Yes I do.

Cab Dispatcher: Why don't you try the airlines? It's faster and you get a free meal.

Neal: If I wanted a joke, I'd follow you into the john and watch you take a leak. Now are you gonna help me or are you gonna stand there like a slab of meat with mittens?

[the cab dispatcher punches him in the face]


[Neal and Del are watching their car burning and laughing]

Neal: How could you rent the thing without a credit card anyway? I mean you could but how could you?

Del: Oh I gave this gal behind the counter a set of shower curtain rings.

[laughs]

Neal: You can't rent a car with shower curtain rings Del.

Del: [Stops laughing] Well... your diner's club card wound up in my wallet and I just...

Neal: You STOLE it!

Del: Not exactly.

Neal: You stole it! I knew you stole it. You stole the card and then you rented a car and you burned it up! I knew you stole it.

Del: No I didn't! I found it in my wallet! I thought maybe you put it there.

Neal: WHY WOULD I PUT IT THERE?

Del: Kindness.

Neal: KINDNESS! KINDNESS! You stole it! He stole it!

Del: No I didn't. I was going to send you the card back. With whatever the rental car charge was. Plus interest. But you didn't give me your address. You just ditched me! I had no cards. I had no money. I had nothing!

Neal: [Grabs Del] Give it back!

Del: I can't!

Neal: Why not?

Del: Because!

Neal: Because why?

Del: Because when we stopped to gas up. I put the card in your wallet.

[Neal's wallet is in the glove compartment in the now burning car]

Del: You're not mad at me are you?

Neal: [Punches Del in the stomach and trips over his trunk]


State Trooper: What the hell are you driving here?

Del: We had a small fire last night, but we caught it in the nick of time.

State Trooper: Do you have any idea how fast you were going?

Del: Funny enough, I was just talking to my friend about that. Our speedometer has melted and as a result it's very hard to see with any degree of accuracy exactly how fast we were going.


Neal: [riding in back of pickup truck in freezing cold] What do you think the temperature is?

Del: One.


Del: I know you don't I? I'm usually very good with names but I'll be damned if I haven't forgotten yours.

Neal: You stole my cab.

Del: I never stole anything in my life.

Neal: I hailed a cab on Park Avenue this afternoon and before I could get in it. You stole it.

Del: You're the guy who tried to get my cab. I knew I knew you! You scared the bejesus out of me. Come to think of it it was easy to get a cab during rush hour.

Neal: Forget it.

Del: I can't forget it. I am sorry. I had no idea it was your cab. Let me make it up to you. How about a nice hot dog and a beer.

Neal: No thanks.

Del: Just a hot dog then.

Neal: I'm kinda picky about what I eat.

Del: Some coffee?

Neal: No.

Del: Milk?

Neal: No.

[becoming more annoyed]

Del: Soda?

Neal: No.

[annoyance rising]

Del: Tea?

Neal: No

Del: LifeSavers?

Neal: No.

Del: Slurpee?

Neal: Sir - please.

Del: Just let me know. I'm here.

[smiles, shaking his finger at Neal]

Del: I knew I knew ya!


Del: You could've killed me slugging me in the gut like that. That's how Houdini died, you know.


Del: Was that seat hot or what? I feel like a Whopper. Turn me over, I'm done on this side. I'm afraid to look at my ass. There'll be griddle marks.


Del: You know, when I'm dead and buried, all I'm gonna have around here to prove that I was here are some shower curtain rings that didn't fall down. Great legacy, huh?

Neal: At the very least, the absolute minimum, you've got a woman you love to grow old with, right?

[Del is quiet]

Neal: You love her, don't you?

Del: Love... is not a big enough word. It's not a big enough word for how I feel about my wife.

Neal: [raises drink] To the wives.

Del: To the wives!


Susan Page: You shared a motel room with a complete stranger? Are you crazy?

Neal: Not yet. But I'm getting there.


Del: I haven't been home in years.


Del: You're in a pretty lousy mood, huh?

Neal: To say the least.

Del: You ever travel by bus before?

[Neal shakes his head]

Del: Hmm. Your mood's probably not going to improve much.


Neal: Let me close this conversation by saying that you are one unique individual.

Del: Unique... what's that, Latin for "asshole"?


[last lines]

Neal: Honey, I'd like you to meet a friend of mine.

Susan Page: Hello, Mr. Griffith.

Del: Hello, Mrs. Page.


[at breakfast Neal finds his wallet empty and gives Del a mean look]

Del: What?

Neal: You know goddamn well what!

Del: I'm sorry I don't

Neal: I had over 700 dollars in here.

Del: I didn't touch your dough Neal. I'm a lot of things but I'm not a thief.

Neal: Well you went into my stuff last night right?

Del: I didn't take your money! and I don't care for the accusation.

Neal: Well I had over 700 dollars in here and you went into my wallet for pizza. Just maybe when you went into my stuff you had to...

Del: [Places his wallet on the table] Count it!

Neal: Oh like you keep it in there if you stole it.

Del: There's 263 dollars in there. If there's a dollar more then you can call me a thief. Just count it.

Neal: [finds Del's wallet empty as wel] Empty.

Del: WHAT?

[Looks thru his wallet]

Del: We were robbed!

Neal: [Sarcastically] Do you think so?


Del: You know I had a feeling that when we parted ways. We would somehow wind up back together again. I've never seen a guy get picked up by his testicles before. Lucky thing for you that cop passed by when he did. Otherwise, you'd be lifting up your schnutz to tie you shoes. I'm sorry. That's terrible. Do you have any idea how glad I am I didn't kill you?

Neal: [high voice] Do you have any idea how glad I'd be if you had?

Del: Oh, come on, pal, you don't mean that. Remember what I said about going with the flow?

Neal: How am I supposed to go with the flow when the rental car agency leaves me in a 100 acre parking lot with keys to a car that isn't there then I have to hike back 3 miles to find out they don't have any more cars?

Del: I got a car, no sweat at all.

Neal: Well Del, you're a charmed man.

Del: Nope.

Neal: Oh, I know. You just go with the flow.

Del: Like a twig on the shoulders of a mighty stream.


Del: You know you nearly killed me, slugging me in the gut when I wasn't ready! That's how Houdini died, you know!


Del: If they told you wolverines would make good house pets, would you believe them?


Neal: What's the flight situation?

Del: Simple. There's no way on earth we're going to get out of here tonight. We'd have more luck playing pickup sticks with our butt-cheeks than we will getting a flight out of here before daybreak.

Neal: I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Del: Yeah, but by the time the airline cancels this flight, which they will sooner or later, you'd have more of a chance to find a three-legged ballerina than you would a hotel room.

Neal: Are you saying I could be *stuck* in Wichita?

Del: I'm saying you *are* stuck in Wichita.


Neal: Eh, look, I don't want to be rude, but I'm not much of a conversationalist, and I really want to finish this article, a friend of mine wrote it, so...

Del: Don't let me stand in your way, please don't let me stand in your way. The last thing I want to be remembered as is an annoying blabbermouth... You know, nothing grinds my gears worse than some chowderhead that doesn't know when to keep his big trap shut... If you catch me running off with my mouth, just give me a poke on the chubbs...


Owen: I'm to drive you to Wichita to catch a train?

Del: Yeah, we'd appreciate it.

Owen: Train don't run out of Wichita... unlessin' you're a hog or a cattle.

[Clears his throat]

Owen: People train runs out of Stubbville.


Neal: Sir?

[runs up to a man getting into a cab]

Neal: Sir? Sir, excuse me. I know this is your cab, but I'm desperately late for a plane, and I was wondering if I could appeal to your good nature and ask you to let me have it.

New York Lawyer: I don't have a good nature. Excuse me.

Cab Driver - New York: [impatiently] Come on!

Neal: Can I offer you ten dollars for it?

New York Lawyer: [scoffs] Nah.

Neal: Twenty! I'll give you twenty dollars for it.

New York Lawyer: I'll take fifty.

Neal: [hesitates, then starts to take the money out] All right, all right.

New York Lawyer: Anyone who'd pay fifty dollars for a cab... would certainly pay seventy-five.

Neal: Not necessarily...

[pause]

Neal: All right, seventy-five dollars. You're a thief!

New York Lawyer: Close. I'm an attorney.

Neal: [dryly] Have a happy holiday.

New York Lawyer: This'll help.


Neal: Well, I'll tell you... as much trouble as I've had on this little journey, I'm sure one day I'm gonna look back and laugh.

Del: [giggles] You think so?

Neal: [starts chuckling] Oh, I'm laughing already.


Del: Six bucks and my right nut says we're not landing in Chicago.


Hotel Clerk: Do you have seventeen dollars and a good watch?

Del: No I don't. I have uh... two dollars... and a Casio.

Hotel Clerk: I'm going to have to say goodnight, so...


Owen: Get your lazy behind out here and put that in back!

Neal: Oh, no, no. We've got it.

Del: It's very heavy.

Owen: She don't mind. She's short and skinny, but she's strong. Her first baby - come out sideways. She didn't scream or nothin'.

Del: Isn't that something. You're a real trooper!


Del: [talking to Neal on the plane] I always order a special meal. On this airline, I go with the seafood salad. On American, I'll have their kosher plate: a little slice of salami, some roast beef, some turkey, dark rye bread, very nice. Now, if I'm flying United, I'll say I'm a youngster and they'll give me the kiddie plate. That's a hot dog, bag of potato chips, a gherkin, and a nice little bag of Oreo cookie, mmm!


Cab Dispatcher: Hey! Get your car out of here!

Del: Yeah, just one sec.

Cab Dispatcher: GET IT OUT OF HERE!

Del: What is your problem? You insensitive asshole! Can't you see we have an injured man down here? Now I'll move my car, but I want you to help him up!

Neal: No!

Cab Dispatcher: [pulls gloves up] My pleasure.

[grabs Neal by his testicles]

Neal: Oh!


Gus: Del Griffith! How the hell are ya?

Del: Well, I'm still a million bucks shy of bein' a millionaire.

[Both laugh]

Del: Gus, I'd like you to meet an old friend of mine. This is Neal Page from Chicago. Neal, this is Gus Mooney.

Neal: Hi.

Gus: Glad to meet you, Nick.


Del: How do you turn this thing off?

[lightbulb breaks]

Del: Ouch!


Del: [sitting outside the motel cafe after finding out they've been robbed] You know I've been thinking. What we're dealing with here is a small-time crook. He didn't take the credit cards, right? So we charge our way home. What kind of plastic do you carry?

Neal: I have a Visa and a gasoline card. Oh, and I have a Neiman Marcus card in case you want to send someone a gift. What do you have?

Del: Chalmer's Big and Tall men's shop. It's a seven outlet chain in the pacific northwest. Great stuff. Unfortunately, it does us no good here.


Screaming Driver: [late at night on the highway, Del is unknowingly driving in the opposite lane while a couple drive alongside him notice] Holy shit! Look at that guy on the wrong side of the highway! He's going to kill somebody!

Screaming Driver's Wife: Oh, my God!

Screaming Driver: [honks his horn and rolls his window down to get their attention] Hey! Hey!

[Del notices and honks back in retaliation]

Neal: [waking up from the noise] Hey, what's going on?

Del: Some joker wants to race.

[Neal turns to look at the man who's now sticking his arm out his window making a turning motion]

Del: Turn around!

Neal: [turns to Del] Don't race. It's ridiculous.

Del: [to the Screaming Driver] All right, come on. Let's go! Let's go!

Screaming Driver: Put your window down!

Neal: He wants something.

[he rolls down his window]

Del: Egh, he's probably drunk.

Screaming Driver: You're going the wrong way!

Neal: [leans his head out the window] What?

Screaming DriverScreaming Driver's Wife: You're going the wrong way!

Neal: [makes a nod making like he understands and sits back straight in his seat, to Del] He says we're going the wrong way.

Del: Oh, he's drunk! How would he know where we're going?

Neal: [agreeable] Yeah, how would he know?

[turns to the couple, mockingly waves and says]

Neal: Thank you! Thanks a lot! Terrific!

Del: [also mocking] Thank you!

[honks horn a couple times and laughs]

Del: What a moron!

Screaming Driver: You're going in the wrong direction!

[Del imitates a drunkard drinking and acting buffoonish]

Screaming DriverScreaming Driver's Wife: YOU'RE GOING TO KILL SOMEBODY!

[Neal looks back out the window again and looks at the street, noticing that it's not the shoulder but the middle of the highway that is to his right, looks up at the couple]

Screaming DriverScreaming Driver's Wife: YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!

Neal: [eyes bulge, finally realizing the problem, he turns forward to find two semi-trucks side by side coming straight for them, Neal is so panicked he can't even talk loud enough] Truck. Truck. Truck! Truck!

Del: [too busy to notice the oncoming vehicles, looking at Neal, shaking his shoulder to get his attention] What? What?

[Del looks forward to see the two semi-trucks coming head on, the two scream as they manage to squeeze their way through the gap in between them]


Neal: I'd like one room for the night.

Del: If you're upset, maybe we should get separate rooms.

Neal: You get your own room.

Hotel Clerk: Will you be paying with credit card?

Neal: Yes. I have a Visa card... Diner's Club card... and a gasoline card.

[he lays them out - all of them are burned]

Hotel Clerk: [chuckles] These aren't... these aren't credit cards.

Neal: Do you take cash?

Hotel Clerk: Forty-two fifty.

Neal: [lays money on the table] How about seventeen dollars...

Hotel Clerk: I can't do that.

Neal: Please. Have mercy. I've been wearing the same underwear since Tuesday.

Del: I can vouch for that.

Hotel Clerk: I don't own the place, I...

[gestures towards the management office behind him]

Neal: Seventeen dollars...

Neal: [unstraps wristwatch] ... and a hell of a nice watch?


Neal: [waitress hands them the bill, Neal nabs it] I'll get that. I've paid for everything else, why break precedent?

Del: You're making me feel like a freeloader!

Neal: Get me on the train, we're square.

Del: You got it. That's the easy part.


Bus Lover: [to Neal] Why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer.

Del: [to Neal] Ha Ha Ha! You got busted!


Neal: Well, let me just close this conversation, saying you are a unique individual.

Del: What is unique, uh...? Latin for "asshole?"


Del: I didn't introduce myself. Del Griffith. American Light and Fixture, Sales Director, shower curtain ring division.


Del: Neal, trouble on the home front? Huh?

Neal: I really don't think that's any of your concern.

Del: You know, the finest line a man will walk is between success at work and success at home. I gotta motto: Like your work, Love your wife.


Del: How about your bun?

Neal: No, no it's too hard.

Del: Sure?

Del: [Del tries to get the old man's attention] Sir? Excuse me. Would you like a bun?

Man on plane: [the man misunderstands Del] Oh it's fun. Flights fun.

Del: [Del laughs] No no no, would you like the bun?

Man on plane: Uh what's that?

Del: I'm offering you a bun.

Man on plane: Speak up!

Del: Do you want the bun?

Man on plane: No, I just got started!

Neal: [Neal becomes frustrated and cuts in] He said do you want the bun.

Man on plane: Oh yes, thank-you.

[the man takes the bun]

Del: There you go. How about another salad?

[the man hands over his salad dish]

Del: No no no, takes this salad he doesn't want any, he's not hungry. Some salad dressing.

Man on plane: I'll have the brownie.

Del: The brownie? Sure.

Neal: No no no, I'd like that.

Del: You want the brownie? He won't give you the brownie, he's got a sweet tooth.

[Del whispers to Neal]

Del: Isn't he a nice fella?

[Just as Neal is about to eat his brownie, a woman in the seat in front of him pulls her hair back, covering his brownie]

Del: I guess you're not going to want your brownie now?

Neal: No.

Del: No. Mind?

[Del digs into the woman's hair, taking out the brownie. He offers some to the old man]

Del: Would you like half?

Man on plane: Oh would you?

Del: Certainly.

[Del gives the old man the brownie]

Del: There you go, the big side.


Del: I've never seen a guy get picked up by his testicles before. Lucky for you that cop passed by when he did, or you'd be lifting your snutz to tie your shoes.


John: [peers his head in the elevator] You'll never make the six.


Marti Page: Mom, is Grandpa Walter going to give me noogies?

Susan Page: Of course he's going to give you noogies. He loves giving you noogies. That's how he tells you he loves you.

Little Neal Page: Why doesn't he give me noogies?

Susan Page: Because you get Indian burns.

Little Neal Page: But I prefer noogies.


Del: I guess this is probably a good time as any to tell you this. Our tickets are only good to St. Louis. St. Louis to Chi-town is booked tighter than Tom Thumb's ass.


Neal: [on tequila and Doritos] What do you think? You think this is a good combination?

Del: No, probably not.


Bus Lover: Why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer.


Del: [raiding the motel room's minibar] How's your drink?

Neal: Good.

Del: Go for another one? Where you been? Have you been to Italy? Have you had amaretto?

Neal: I had amaretto and this is a gin.

Del: Gin.

Neal: Give me that - is there a tequila there?

Del: Ahem. A little Mexican trip.

Neal: Tequila?

Del: Here you go. Coming up.

Neal: Is this a good combo or what?

Del: No, probably not. Me, I'm goin' back to, uh, Jamaica. Jamaica, mon. Go to Jamaica. Have some rum, mon. Dig it. Iree, iree, mon.


Screaming DriverScreaming Driver's Wife: You're going the wrong way! You're going to kill somebody!


Del: Six bucks and my left nut says we're not going to be landing in Chicago.


Del: The last thing I want to be remembered as is an annoying blabbermouth!


Del: Next time, let's go first class, all right?

Neal: God, I hope there isn't a next time.


Del: I had no idea those beer cans were going to blow like that.

Neal: You left them on a vibrating bed, what did you think was gonna happen?

Del: It's been a long day. It just - it just didn't occur to me.

Neal: It didn't occur to you; so, I have to sleep in a puddle of beer!


Del: You're going to be in Chicago in less than three hours, around there, if we don't hit traffic, and I don't think we should - it's Thanksgiving. We're movin' now.


[chasing after his stolen cab]

Neal: You're messing with the wrong guy!


Del: I called a good friend of mine at Eastern Air Lines. It doesn't look good.


Car Rental Agent: [edited TV version only]

[cheerfully]

Car Rental Agent: Welcome to Marathon, may I help you?

Neal: Yes.

Car Rental Agent: How may I help you?

Neal: You can start by wiping that chirpy turkey smile off your rosy cheeks! Then you can give me an automobile! A Datsun, a Toyota, a Mustang, a Buick! Four wheels and a seat!

Car Rental Agent: I really don't care for the way you're speaking to me.

Neal: And I really don't care for the way your company left me in the middle of nowhere with keys to a car that isn't there. And I really didn't care to walk down a highway and across a runway to get back here to have you smile in my face. I want a car... right... now.

Car Rental Agent: May I see your rental agreement?

Neal: I threw it away.

Car Rental Agent: Oh, boy.

Neal: Oh, boy, what?

Car Rental Agent: [chuckles] You're screwed.

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